These intense pastel scapes are made in the studio, where from within image the act of making is like walking a cloister. The momentum is stabled by the movement of navigating the drawing, retracing the layers, moving into and out of the light, informed by the structure and pace of thoughts.
However they begin with walking and experiencing the landscape. The sense of a period of time has an empathy with the act of drawing, the tempo of the relationship between action and thought are similar. The Romantics brought walking to our attention as an aesthetic practice and this sensibility is imbued in Lee’s practice. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy traversed the Pennines in the late C19, journeying through its sensual experience. Then walking for the pleasure of being in the landscape was something of a new idea.
‘Walking allows us to be in our bodies, in the world, without being busy in them’
Wanderlust, Rebecca Solnit.
There are three folds to the place where Sara Lee takes us with her ‘Beckoning Lines’. The first is the act of walking and being in the landscape. The second is the contemplation of those ideas in the studio and the third the closure and the opening: the point when an image is released to take on its own space, independent of the artist.
Is Lee framing the landscape in pursuit of the picturesque? Or does she aspire to the more complex encapsulation of atmosphere? Built in the subtle layers of the image making; the holding of the sky between the viewer and the horizon her landscapes strikes beyond the romantic tradition? These images are stripped of their totems - buildings, trees and elements that give rise to the interpretation of scale. (More detailed description of one particular important work the sky, the ground, the sea the light the horizon line)
Sara Lee walks and gathers, sometimes extensive coastal pathways. These are not journeys to be conquered and documented, they are space and time inhabited. The ‘being in’ the landscapes a conduit of thought and experience. From this action the landscapes she creates are often universal; not specific of a particular vista. Later the gathered building blocks: drawings, photographs, notes, poems, thoughts are distilled to concentrated the frame of the image where the line of the horizon is a tensile hair holding the DNA of place.